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Progesterone-only pills like Norgeston are great if you want to avoid the unpleasant side-effects of oestrogen-based pills. When taken properly Norgeston will give over 99% protection from getting pregnant.

If you are already taking Norgeston, you can reorder your pill online from DrEd.com by clicking 'Start Consultation' below.


3 month course £19
6 month course £24

Prices include delivery and prescription.

How does Norgeston work?

Norgeston is a progesterone-only oral contraceptive pill (POP), also known as the “mini pill”. Its only active ingredient is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, called levonorgestrel.

POPs are different to other types of the Pill, known as combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs), which contain a combination of two sex hormones – progesterone and oestrogen.

Norgeston is mainly taken by sexually active women to prevent pregnancy. You should take it at the same time (within a 3 hour window) every day, in order for it to be effective. The hormones inside prevent you from getting pregnant in several ways:

  • By making the mucus in your cervix much thicker, so it’s more difficult for sperm to travel through to the womb.

  • By thinning the lining of your womb, so that it’s less easy for a fertilised egg to implant itself and grow there.

  • (In some women) by stopping your ovary from releasing its monthly egg.

If you are a new user, taking your first Norgeston pill on the first day of your next period will give you protection from pregnancy. If you take your first Norgeston pill on any other day of your cycle, you may have to use condoms for the first 7 days of taking it, when you have sex. After 7 days of taking Norgeston, you will be protected from pregnancy.

How does Norgeston compare to other pills?

When taken correctly, the oral contraceptive pill (“the Pill”) is one of the most reliable types of contraception available.

It’s an entirely reversible (non-permanent) method, and it doesn’t interrupt sex. However, taking the Pill will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections, like syphilis. Only condoms will do this.

Other “mini pills” or POPs like Norgeston include: Micronor, Noriday, and Cerazette. On average, POPs are between 92-97% effective at preventing pregnancy. These percentages would be even higher (over 99%) but they included all women who use them, including those who don't use them correctly. This means those who don't take as advised by a health care professional.

POP

% of women who are protected from pregnancy

Norgeston

95%

Micronor

95%

Noriday

96%

Cerazette

97%

The percentages above show how many times pregnancy was prevented in clinical trials. So for every 100 women using the Pill in these trials, between 95 and 97 were completely protected from pregnancy. Norgeston has an efficacy of 95%, which means that it had a failure rate of 5 times out of 100 in clinical trials.

Apart from POPs, there are also combined hormonal contraceptive pills (CHCs), such as Migrogynon, Rigevidon, Yasmin, and Loestrin. There is also the emergency contraceptive pill (EC), which is more commonly known as “the morning-after pill”. POPs, CHCs, and ECs are all forms of the Pill.

Type of pill

% of women who are protected from pregnancy

Progesterone-only pills

92-97%

Combined hormonal contraceptive

92-97%

Emergency contraceptive pills

89%

The main difference between POPs like Norgeston and other oral contraceptives is that POPs contain a much lower dose of hormones than CHCs and ECs. The main benefit to this is that, if you are someone who commonly experiences side effects when using hormonal contraceptives, you should have less of them when taking POPs.

On the other hand, in practice, the lower dose of hormones means that you will need to be much more disciplined in taking them at the same time every day. Taking your Norgeston at a time outside a daily 3 hour window will make it less effective, and could put you at risk of pregnancy.

All POPs contain a dose of hormones, which means that you take an “active” pill (containing hormones) every day for your whole cycle. With CHCs, you have 21 days of taking “active” pills and 7 days of taking “inactive” pills (containing no hormones) or no pills at all.

What do reviews of Norgeston say?

The reviews of Norgeston are broadly positive. Most users find they experience less unpleasant side effects on the “mini pill” than they do on the higher dosage CHCs.

The main benefits and perceived drawbacks of Norgeston that people report are as follows:

Benefits

Drawbacks

Contains no oestrogen so oestrogen-related side-effects are avoided.

Slightly higher risk of developing blood clots (like DVT) and breast cancer, when compared to women on no hormonal contraception.

Can make your periods lighter, and improve symptoms of post-menstrual tension (PMT)

Can cause mood swings, so it isn’t always suitable for people with mental health differences or anxiety

Sometimes causes periods to stop completely

Can cause headaches and other side effects, like nausea, dizziness, or worsening acne

Can help to improve acne or spotty skin

Must be taken at the same time every day, within a window of 3 hours, to work

Is a completely reversible form of contraception

Can cause irregular menstruation or spotting between periods

Convenient to use, and doesn’t interrupt sex

What are the side effects of Norgeston?

As with all medicines, taking Norgeston can cause some side effects. These side effects shouldn’t ever be severe, painful, or unpleasant. If you ever experience any extreme side effects, stop taking it immediately and seek advice from your doctor.

The most common side effects (between 1 in 10 users) are:

  • Spotting (breakthrough bleeding between periods) or no periods (amenorrhea).

  • Nausea (feeling sick).

  • Acne or spotty skin.

  • Mood swings (depression or anxiety).

  • Dizziness.

  • Weight changes.

  • Headaches or migraine.

These side effects should stop after the first few months of taking Norgeston, so doctors usually advise you to stick with it for at least three cycles before trying a different Pill. Hormonal contraceptives will work differently for different women, and many users will have no side effects at all.

You should see a doctor right away if you experience any of these serious side effects:

  • Signs of a blood clot (unusually severe migraines, swelling or pain in one leg, a sudden tightness in your chest, weakness or numbness across one side of your body, or any changes in your eyesight, hearing, speech, sense of smell, taste, or touch)

  • An allergic reaction (swelling of the face, tongue or difficulty breathing)

  • Signs of breast cancer (changes to the skin of the breast or in the nipple, or any noticeable new lumps that you can see or feel)

  • Symptoms of a severe liver problem (bad pain in the upper abdomen, yellow eyes or skin, or sudden itching across your whole body)

These reactions are all rare, but potentially dangerous. You may have to stop taking Norgeston if you experience these side effects.

Can I take Noregeston?

Not everyone can take Norgeston. It depends on what health conditions you have and what other medication you're taking.

You shouldn't take Norgeston if you:

  • Know you are pregnant or if you think you might be.

  • Have severe liver disease, liver tumours, or are awaiting liver function test results.

  • Have a history of sex-hormone related cancer, like breast cancer.

  • Have unexplaned vaginal bleeding.

  • Have had any circulatory diseases, like blood clots, stroke, heart attack, or severe diabetes that affects blood vessels.

  • Are allergic to any ingredients in Norgeston.

You also not take Norgeston if you are taking any of the following medications:

  • Epilepsy medications.

  • HIV medication.

  • Medication for serious vomiting.

  • Medication for high blood pressure in the lungs.

  • Griseofulvin.

  • Some antibiotics.

  • Some sedatives.

  • St. John's Wort.

Can I get pregnant on Norgeston and how will I know?

There is always a risk of getting pregnant when you are taking contraceptives, but this risk is very small with the Pill.

On Norgeston, if you followed the directions for using it perfectly, you would have a 1% chance of getting pregnant. However, the risk of pregnancy increases when you are regularly late or missing pills. In practice, it is difficult to maintain perfect pill-taking discipline. On average, women on Norgeston have a 5% chance of getting pregnant.

You shouldn’t use Norgeston if you are pregnant. If you think this might be the case, take a pregnancy test to confirm before you carry on taking it. You can also visit your doctor for a test if you are unsure.

You may be at risk of pregnancy if you have been more than 3 hours late in taking your usual pill or if you miss a pill, and you had unprotected sex in the 7 days before doing so. Take a test to make sure, and use an extra barrier method (like condoms) for the next 7 days if you’re having sex.

Sources

Bayer plc (2017). Package leaflet: Information for the user Norgeston® levonorgestrel. [online] EMC. Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/PIL.2901.latest.pdf [Accessed 18th July 2017].

Bayer plc (2016). Norgeston. [online] EMC. Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/1834 [Accessed 18th July 2017].

Faculty of family planning and reproductive health care clinical effectiveness unit (FFPRHC) (2003). New product review (April 2003) desogestrel-only Pill (Cerazette). Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care; 29(3): 162-164.

Pfizer (2006). Noriday® 28 Day Tablets norethisterone 350 micrograms. [online] Medsafe. Available at: http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/Consumers/CMI/n/Noriday.pdf [Accessed 18th July 2017].

MEPPO (2009). Micronor® Janssen. [online] HCP-MEPPO. Available at: http://www.meppo.com/pdf/drugs/1116-MICRONOR-1329751270.pdf [Accessed 18th July 2017].

SexInfo Online (2013). Birth control comparison chart. [online] SexInfo Online. Available at: http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/sexinfo/article/birth-control-comparison-chart [Accessed 18th July 2017].

If you have a question about this service, please email info@dred.com with the question, and one of our doctors will get back to you within 24 hours.

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